“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?'” Matthew 24:3
The disciples first asked this question over 2000 years ago, yet the question looms heavily on the hearts and minds of His followers today.
End-time prophecies have preoccupied the minds of believers since the days of Christ. For decades, books and movies have been filled with images of people disappearing, people left behind, people hunted down under the brutal regime of a one-world dictator known as the antichrist.
It is true that no one knows the day or the hour, but when His disciples asked about His coming, Jesus–instead of telling them not to be concerned–told them what to expect and instructed them to watch carefully for the signs:
“Learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; even so you too, when you see all these things recognize that He is near right at the door.”(Matthew 24:32-33)
Some people are afraid to think about end-time events, others believe it is not important; but God would not have given us thousands of verses in His Word that deal with these truths if He did not think it was crucial for us to know and act upon them. It is imperative to remember that all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. (2 Tim. 3:16)
So what does God want us to do? Well, Jesus answered with earnest clarity, and sober warning: “Be on the alert…you must be ready…” (Matthew 24:42, 44)
In Israel, watchmen were appointed to sound the trumpet and alert the people of approaching danger so they had time to save their lives. God appointed Ezekiel to warn Israel to “turn back, turn back from your evil ways!” (Ezekiel 33:7-11)
So too, we have been appointed to be watchmen to this generation. God has not left us in the dark regarding His plan for earth history and His eternal kingdom to come. He is very patient “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) But He will not wait forever! God takes sin seriously and soon–very soon– He is going to judge the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity. (Isaiah 13:11)
We must know what God’s Word teaches about end-time events—the terror of the antichrist, judgment of sin, and the return of Christ—and then we must warn people and call them to repentance.
In Matthew 3:2 John the Baptist said: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
In Mark 1:15 Jesus said: “The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.”
In Acts 2:38 Peter said: “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins”
In Acts 17:30-31 Paul said: “God is now declaring that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness.”
People are hurting, confused, discouraged, and scared. The world has disappointed them, people have betrayed them, their pursuits have let them down, and their prospects look dim. They can find new jobs, buy new houses, earn new money, and look for new friends, but what they really need is hope. Hope for their souls!!
“Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! For the day of the Lord is coming, surely it is near…Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness” (Joel 2:1,13)